Clara Caufield: Learning to fly with my fellow eagles and eaglettes

Clara Caufield. Photo from Native News Project / University of Montana School of Journalism

Soaring as an Eaglette
A Cheyenne Voice
By Clara Caufield

I am tired of writing about ugly, seamy, and terrible things, such as tribal politics. So now, I pen about something more inspirational. Eagles, that is. Because, now, I are one. (That is not a typo, but proper eagle-speak).

What, you may ask, is an Eagle? That organization is one of several fraternal groups in this country dedicated to good works on behalf of their communities. There are also Elks and Moose – for some reason these organizations seem drawn to animal names and logos, like Native people are.

Most of the “Eagles” I now know in Sheridan, Wyo., are elderly, financially comfortable (though not extremely rich) white folks, including a preponderance of veterans. They like “flocking” together, enjoying a good old time and, since they are retired, with time on their hands, also seem to like helping others.

For example, if one of their fellow Eagles should suffer a broken wing or something worse, the other members of the flock will rally, holding fundraisers to help or more importantly, offer moral support. But, they do not confine their efforts to their own – the “Eagles will fly for others as well,” offering scholarships and supporting local charities.

This week, I was formally inducted into Eagle Aerie (nest, refuge, sanctuary, or stronghold), Post 186, located in Sheridan. This event capped several months of inspection and corroboration by my now-fellow Eagles. It is not, as I have learned, that easy to become an Eagle, gaining wings and formal authorization to fly and keep company with fellow good-hearted creatures. You cannot, for example just walk up and say “I want to be an Eagle.” You must first be vetted and accepted.

Read the rest of the story on the all new Native Sun News website: Soaring as an Eaglette

(Contact Clara Caufield at

Copyright permission Native Sun News

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